Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Former interior secretary Jewell says Army is ‘reneging’ on its commitments on Dakota Access pipeline

Former interior secretary Sally Jewell said in an interview Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers was “reneging” on its commitment to other federal agencies and tribal leaders to conduct a thorough environmental review of the Dakota Access pipeline before granting an easement to the project’s sponsor. On Tuesday, Army officials said in court filings that they would grant the final federal permit that the pipeline’s sponsor, Energy Transfer Partners, needs to complete the 1,170-mile project. Jewell, who has refrained from commenting on the new administration even as it has clashed with members of her former department, said she felt compelled to speak out because she believes it is now violating its legal obligations. Jewell said the Corps failed to adequately consult with leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation abuts the proposed route, early on in the process. The formal Environmental Impact Statement, which the agency indicated in December it would conduct, would have provided the tribe with an opportunity to air its concerns and allowed other agencies to weigh in on the decision. “So the decision to not do any of that is reneging on a commitment they made [in December] and I think it’s fair to say that I’m profoundly disappointed with the Corps’ reversal of its decision to conduct an Environmental Impact Statement and consider alternative routes,” she said. “This is a clear reversal of a commitment on the part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on something they gave thoughtful consideration to when they decided to do an environmental review.”...more

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